Following the conclusion of boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather's latest masterpiece, a 12-round drubbing of Robert Guerrero, whispers throughout the boxing world indicated that the sport's top draw may have failed to cross the 1 million pay-per-view buy mark in his Showtime debut, a result that would've been seen as an unmitigated disaster for the premium cable network.
According to Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza, however, that doesn't appear to be the case.
"There were early reports as early as Tuesday, 72 hours after the fight, about what the (PPV) results had been, which is really way too early, from my perspective, to speak meaningfully about this," Espinoza said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour.
"So when enough data had come in that we were able to speak meaningfully, which was probably Friday, that's when we went ahead and confirmed that we will definitely be over a million buys. I'm not sure exactly how much over a million it will be, whether it be a little or a lot over a million, a lot of that depends on how some of the lagging buys come in and are reported over the next few weeks, but we definitely hit the million buy threshold."
Despite a heated lead-up, the bout ultimately proved to be one-sided. Mayweather handily defeated Guerrero via a trio of 117-111 scorecards, improving his perfect record to 44-0.
"Being completely candid, I have a lot of respect for Robert Guerrero as a boxer," Espinoza said. "He put up a game fight, but in the pay-per-view industry, and in that world, he wasn't a huge name. And for Floyd to be able to generate a million buys when he didn't have the benefit of a name opponent, is really a testament to Floyd's drawing power."
Mayweather arrived to Showtime in lavish fashion in early 2013, inking a record-breaking multi-fight deal instead of re-upping with rival HBO. Though despite Mayweather's flamboyant reputation, thus far Espinoza describes his experiences dealing with the fighter as "surprisingly easy."
Espinoza expects Mayweather's next fight to be announced within the next two weeks. "Money" is targeting a September 14th fight date, and preliminary talks with Golden Boy Promotions have already begun to secure a big-money bout against unbeaten Mexican junior middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
"I'm still cautiously optimistic," explained Espinoza. "I think that's a fight that makes sense for both guys, and both guys want it. There are details to work out; weight is one of them. But, those things, I think, can get worked out when both fighters want the fight.
"The goal is always to set a new record, the record being 2.5 million (pay-per-views buys) with De La Hoya and Mayweather. ‘Canelo,' as much of a star as he is, doesn't have the awareness that Oscar did as the time of the Mayweather fight, but he has a lot of heat behind him. So, 1.5 (million), 2.5 (million), I'd be happy with any of those," Espinoza said in closing.
"At the end of this, really, the consumer decides. We put the message out there, we try to inform people about how we see the fight, and either it catches on or it doesn't with the consumer. We're just trying to put the best product on the screen."